Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with RecipesBread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes by Shauna Niequist
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Shauna Niequist book that I have read. I came across a recommendation from a blogging friend (Annie B. Jones) who enjoyed it and decided that I too wanted to read this book. Part of what was compelling was the fact that there were recipes included throughout the book and the promise that they were fairly simple to make - something that I am constantly looking for.

And I wish I could put a finger on it about what is so compelling about this book, but the proper words elude me. Maybe it is it's sweet simplicity - great vignettes throughout with great recipes. Maybe it is the joy that Niequist is wonderful at conveying about the act of creating a meal and then sharing it with loved ones. Whatever it is, it has inspired me immensely and gotten me in the kitchen, actually cooking for myself. That sounds like it shouldn't be that big of a deal - after all, cooking isn't that new of a thing or some great novelty. But for me, a single woman who comes home most nights, after solving problems or navigating stressful waters with clients or coworkers all day and only a few hours to go before falling asleep, somehow cramming in time with friends or high school girls - cooking has remained something just out of my grasp. It's not that I can't cook or follow a recipe - it's that it is the last thing I want to try to do and wait to eat until 9pm after a long day at the office (and also why all working mothers have my utmost admiration).

Anyway, this book has been very inspiring and gotten me in the kitchen, creating meals - and I love it. It's gotten me thinking more about actually planning meals and stocking my kitchen so that there are things to eat. I have felt more adventurous about trying new things and being ok if they don't turn out great - it's all part of the process. Which is exactly what I think Shauna herself would say.

It's a great book about love and cooking and has some really great recipes. Honestly what more does one need?

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: Quiet

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I strongly believe that this is an important book for people to read. I was pretty hesitant myself before picking it up - I had seen Susan Cain's TED talk, which was interesting, but I wasn't sure if it would be interesting enough to hold my attention through an entire book. I was very wrong though.

Through research and interviews that Cain compiles, she makes a compelling case for introverts everywhere and provides a voice to people who the world thinks are just "different" or "shy". And because (especially in America) we are conditioned to hear the loudest voice in the room, these people are unconsciously written off because of their personality. Introverts are cast as "anti-social" and not liking to be around people, which is one of the many myths that Cain dispels about this segment of our population - which, according to which research you believe makes up either a third or half of our population.

Part of what the book so interesting to me was the many different approaches and topics that were addressed in the book: Introverts in the workplace & space - how can they survive in the new "open" work environments (something that I myself have struggled much with); Introverts in modern-day evangelical churches - Are churches set up in a way that only allows for extroverts to worship; Introverts and biology - can you tell whether a child will be an introvert or extrovert soon after they are born?; Introverts and personal relationships - how to navigate different personalities in relationships; and Introverted children and how they do (or don't) succeed in school and how parents can help them.

If there's any complaint that I would have about the book, it would be the style with which it is written - it read like a Malcolm Gladwell book to me - lots of overarching statements with some compelling antecedent research. However, when flipping through the appendix, you do find that this book was well-researched and thoroughly thought out.

Again, I think this is an important book for people to read because of the understanding of different personalities it will provide you - which will help you in relations with coworkers, parents, children, friends, and spouses. And if you are an introvert or are not sure, you'll learn more about what makes an introvert and what makes an extrovert from this book.

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Friday, July 12, 2013


This is an incredible speech by a beautiful girl. It is well worth the time to listen.